A Village in Anatolia

A Village in Anatolia

A Village in Anatolia

A Village in Anatolia

Excerpt

Mahmut Makal is the first genuine villager, from the inarticulate millions of peasants all over the world, to describe the village from within.

The only five years of his life spent away from villages were the five years of schooling in one of the new Village Institutes, which are deliberately situated and origanised to prevent their pupils becoming attached to town life. After this minimum education, he was sent back to villages much like his own, as a pioneer teacher. His studies and his own eager reading have given him enough sophistication to feel a desperate need to tell the outside world about a way of life which he not only observes at first hand but shares in by birth and upbringing.

But we should not therefore assume, as we might easily do, that everything he says is accurate, and the overall picture a true one. First, although this is no place to discuss modern Turkey, improvements in village standards of living of a striking nature are now being achieved, partly as a result of the new and rapid advances, which American aid has made possible on the foundations laid by the Ataturk revolution. Thus, rural income per head rose markedly, for the first time ever, from 1951 to 1953, although the new realistic approach to agricultural improvement has only just begun. Much of this improvement is based on greatly improved transport services--one of Makal's villages is now on one of the best main roads in Turkey. Makal himself represented the vanguard of a new movement--now thousands more village teachers have been trained and installed, with slow but inevitable consequences in terms of changes in the direction which he so earnestly desires. Of course, the change to date in the face of the problem is small, but the situation is very far from stagnant, and the outlook is decidedly bright.

Secondly, it must be emphasised that the villages of this area are exceptionally poor, and the land exceptionally infertile-- though, of course, some very poor people are to be found in all areas. Moreover, the conditions described, especially in the early . . .

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